(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — They say everybody needs a hug now and then, and one woman is facing criticism over a business she started to address that need.
Jackie Samuel is a professional cuddler. Her business, called The Snuggery, operates out of Rochester, N.Y. She charges $60 for one hour of cuddling, or $300 to spend the night.
Samuel has strict boundaries. Cuddling is limited to hugging and holding, clothes stay on and there’s no kissing. Think PG, not R rated.
Her business, she says, makes people happy. Human touch releases something called oxytocin, happiness hormone, in the brain.
“People are on the internet they’re isolated they’re buying things to make us happy and we’re not acknowledging we have a very basic need to be touched and to touch others,” Samuel says.
The Snuggery’s clients range in age from 20 to 85. Samuel says the professions of her clients range from construction workers to doctors, to financial consultants.
Some have called what Samuel does prostitution. Her controversial business got her kicked out of graduate school. She does not see it that way.
“It’s so obvious to me it has nothing to do with prostitution. Nobody’s being degraded. We’re not breaking any laws,” Samuel said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN